Anyone who has been around internet discussion and debate for more than a few months (and if you haven’t, how the hell did you find this ’blog?) will be aware of Godwin’s Law, which states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Neither Godwin’s Law, nor any of the published corollaries, say anything about the validity of such comparisons, they merely observe the likelihood. Be that as it may, there is the view that anyone who “goes Godwin” in a debate, does so out of desperation in a losing argument.
Disclosure: I have, in the past, fallen into this trap. In some instances I stand by what I said and in others, it was a cheap debating tactic. I never said I was perfect. I never even said I was good.
I propose a Godwin’s Law of Climate Change, which would state that the longer a discussion of climate change goes on, the more likely it becomes that those who dispute human-caused climate change will attempt to turn the topic towards the behaviour of Al Gore.
It is somewhat amusing to see people who would usually defend the right of people like Rupert Murdoch to make as much money as they can by whatever means they can – and who would likely decry any criticism of such tycoons as ‘the politics of envy,’ – turn around and cite the money Al Gore has made from his carbon trading business and film, as evidence that climate change is all a money-spinning beat up. There are a few things that don’t stack up about this theory. One is that carbon credits would have to be the slowest get-rich-quick scheme ever. The other is that the success of An Inconvenient Truth was pretty damn unlikely. A film about the former vice president and his PowerPoint presentation? Oh yeah, that’s got ‘Box-office smash,’ written all over it! Steven Spielberg must have been kicking himself.
Is Al Gore a hypocrite for his use of air travel and big house? Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t. I don’t care. I’m not here to defend Al Gore. I’m saying he’s irrelevant. Climate change is an issue that exists independently of the existence, behaviour, or even girth of Al Gore. If you hadn’t heard of climate change before An Inconvenient Truth came out, then you really haven’t been paying attention.
If you want to debate the science of climate change, then let’s have that discussion. If you think carbon trading is bullshit, that’s a debate worth having. But if all you have to talk about is Al Gore, then you lose.